I read an article recently written by Selina Ross which really resonated with my own battle…
Ross discusses the case of a woman Clair Cenin who graduated from university six years ago and is still struggling to find employment. Clair stated she didn’t expect to secure a job straight away, however she never anticipated it would take her so long to find employment.
Clair’s situation reflects my experience.
I have three university degrees. I was awarded my last degree seven years ago. I currently am working. However, for most of the seven years since I have graduated, I have strived to find employment to no avail. So, my blog this week will discuss the current employment situation for graduates with a disability.
Firstly as a graduate with a disability, I will share my personal experience in finding work.
I first attended uni with the belief that a degree would assist me to enter the labour market. When I finally left the ivory halls of university, I was filled with optimism. I was ready to make a contribution to society. This had been my dream. Unfortunately this dream was short lived. For six months I tried to find employment unsuccessfully. Due to this I decided to return to uni. I enrolled in a career orientated degree.
When I completed my second degree, I continued to study by completing an honours degree, upon advice of lecturers who believed it may secure me a job. After graduation, unfortunately my dream of employment didn’t eventuate. I sent multitudes of job applications without receiving the courtesy of a reply. I’ve volunteered for years. I always have yearned to be a productive member of society. This desire was my reason to further my education.
It hasn’t been all doom and gloom I have managed to secure some temporary roles. However struggling to find work after graduating is heartbreaking.
My situation reflects many other university graduates with a disability.
Graduating from The University of Newcastle
The graduate careers website shows that the rate of graduates with disability who are unemployed and seeking full time work is 23.5%, compared to students without disability at 11.3%. The Australian Network on Disability show that graduates with disability take 56.2 % longer to gain fulltime employment than other graduates. The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education found that graduates with disability earn less than those without disability.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission wrote that many uni graduates with disability embark on a continuous cycle of studying, hoping that the additional qualifications will eventually get them a job.
The question is why are graduates with a disability struggling to find work?
Unfortunately, graduates with a disability face many barriers to finding employment.
One barrier is graduates with disability have reduced opportunities for work experience. A report by an organisation Australians For Disability And Diversity Employment Inc. showed that students with a disability tend to be less prepared for work than other students because they devote their time to studying not work related activities.
When I was at uni I did not have the time or the stamina to work and study at the same time, so I missed out on work experiences. One solution to overcoming this barrier would be for students who are unable to work during the semesters to have some sort of work experience throughout uni breaks.
Read the article here
Updated September 10, 2017 11:32:18 For most young people who go to university, the aim is to study, graduate and, with a bit of effort and luck, get a job within a year or two. For Claire Cenin, the six years since she graduated have been a lot more frustrating.
The University of Western Sydney wrote that a barrier to employment for graduates with a disability is that employers may have prejudicial attitudes toward people with disability in the workplace. To overcome this barrier uni career services and Disability Employment Services (DES) have to make employers aware of how valuable graduates with a disability can be. It takes great tenacity to complete a degree and this could be a valuable quality an employer may desire
I strongly believe that the difficulties graduates with disability face can be overcome. However it requires an investment by the government into services that offer adequate assistance.
Most of us graduates with a disability, attended university in the hope of having fruitful careers, it’s time for employers to use our talents.
Shouldn’t we as university graduates be able to reap the rewards of our hard work?
Let’s find a solution.